All posts by MancCoin

Mint NFTs for cents not $100’s and $1000’s

Solana is fast becoming the goto blockchain for minting NFTs providing a platform where you can mint NFTs for pennies NOT hundreds of dollars in direct competition with Opensea.

Solsea provides a new stage for NFT enthusiasts of any type. Due to the high fees on the likes of Opensea and others using the Ethereum blockchain the Solsea platform is growing at a phenomenal rate.

Below is a screen grab from today : Monday 15th November 2021

Exit to Solsea here


And below is my foray into the world of NFTs

Square 1 part of the Squares collection

Zilliqa woes

Zilliqa mainnet is down and has been for the last 24 hours due to problems with memory management and contract processing. This state of affairs begs the question…….’How can a decentralised network be closed down’

Mainnet down to my mind IS a big deal but for the Zilliqa team it seems not…

Not a mention on the main website (https://www.zilliqa.com/) a brief Twitter post and this Reddit

Moonlet my wallet of choice at the moment for easy staking all things Zilliqa has the following notice

This notice is conspicuous by its absence when using the chrome moonlet extension.

Aside from today’s problem I have had a minor issue with Moonlet. I have been staking with Moonlet for a while but had not staked my rewards, which had been stacking up. Unfortunately I had not been keeping an eye on my account and did not have enough unstaked Zilliqa to pay the fees in order to claim my rewards.

No problem : as I was thinking of buying more Zilliqa anyway I went to HitBTC and bought a bit…..only to find that withdrawls were locked.

I then realised that instead of buying more Zilliqa to transfer to my Moonlet account I could just used SWAP. That is swap gZIL for ZIL and be able to pay the fees to claim my rewards and compound my stake.

Since writing this post the Zilliqa transactions on the mainnet are now up and running…albeit very slowly. Although this is a knock in confidence for Zilliqa I am still optimistic that this is a just a blip in a project that has massive potential upside. Consequently I shall be experimenting with Zilliqa in the following areas.

Unstoppable domains

Liquidity Mining using ZilSwap

and NFTs

NFTs : from million$ to billion$

Non Fungible Token(s) are here to stay. At the moment the market may be in a bubble but that is only because this technology is scratching the surface of a global network of buyers and sellars. Although this sounds like a contradiction I believe that the market as it stands is going to fragment into many siloed exchanges, each with their own specialisms.

Currently NFTs are confined to digital art, audio, video or pictorial, in essence it is only a unit of data stored on a blockchain (ledger) which cannot be replicated. The artwork itself being digital can copied, and distributed anywhere but the NFT can only exist as a unique entity.

NFTs can revolutionize the way artists are rewarded for their work, this is especially true for pictorial artists who can reclaim the scarcity of their work. This in turn will increase the value of their work and create new revenue streams. NFTs cannot prevent plagiarism of a digitial artwork but it can prove provenance and ownership. The various NFT exchanges prove that the market for these collectables exists and that the potential has only just being recognised.

“Everydays – The First 5000 Days” by @beeple selling for $69 million at Christie’s momentarily catapulted NFT technology into the public consciousness only to be forgotten weeks later. This ’15 minutes of fame’ belies the fact that the NFT market is growing exponentially.

According to analysis by DappRadar the market(sales) for NFTs for the first half of 2021 was $2.5 billion compared with the same period last year of (only) $13.7 million. From millions to billions within a year.

All indicators point to a thriving NFT environment that will likely see the market to continue to expand at a rapid rate with innovative and idiosyncratic use cases to continue throughout 2021.

Useful NFT primers and explainers

Material Art to Crypto Art: An Overview of NFTs

Are NFTs The Future Of Fine Art Collecting?

The Line Between NFTs and Fine Art Gets Even Blurrier in New Auction

HOW TO LOOK AT NFTS

FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY & NFT

A list of NFT exchanges such as Opensea , Rarible and KnownOrigin can be found here

There are curated meme’s such as CryptoPunks and The Bored Ape Yacht Club but also examples of fine art such as CryptoArt by Michele Petrelli.

Finally NFT exchanges reflect an infinite range of artistic expression from the mundane to the extraordinary.

Strava ‘glitch’

I am an avid Strava user, free version of course. Recently I was reviewing my activities and came across this infuriating glitch.

Strava glitch

Key elements of my data were missing and only the field names were displayed. After numerous google searches for a solution I decided to put up with the problem convinced it was an underhand ploy by Strava to get me to use the ‘paid for’ version.

By chance today I used Firefox to review my activities on Strava and ‘hey presto’ the glitch had magically disappeared. This proved to me that the problem was with Google chrome and not Strava.

clear browsing data

The above did not work….. so went for the nuclear option…. log out of Google and using the Advanced option from settings Reset chrome.

By logging back into Google and resyncing chrome the glitch with Strava was resolved.

BlockFi, 2FA and Google authenticator

An initial problem with 2FA and logging into BlockFi has turned into an interesting problem that I am not sure has been satisfactorily resolved.

On trying to log into BlockFi today I discovered that my 2FA token was not being recognised.

In order to log in I used the original Recovery code that is created when you first sign up. Obviously this is not a satisfactory solution and I must have a valid 2FA token for future use.

This is a problem that I have encountered before with other applications and I thought I had the solution. Firstly check and reset the time on my 2FA generator, in this case Google Authenticator (other authenticators are available) , there is an option in settings that sync’s your device to the servers at Google. No joy. So after searching for solutions one suggestion I saw involved resetting the on the device used to login.

This contradicts my understanding of how the 2FA token works and would involve the syncronization of 3 time stamps. The timestamps on

the application, the 2FA generator, the computer

To my mind the time stamp on the computer should be irrelevant (as only the App and the 2FA generator need to be in sync ) but worth a try under the circumstances.

So I check that the time is correctly set on my Linux PC and reset.

name@computer :~$ timedatectl set-ntp yes

Still no joy….. as my PC is dual boot I thought I would make doubly sure the system time was working by resetting the time under Windows (10).

Youtube video 3 Ways to Synchronize Windows Clock With an Internet Time Server

2FA still NOT working

My only solution at this point is to login using the recovery code, switch OFF 2FA and then switch 2FA back on to create a new token. This still did NOT work. To cut a long story short to create a 2FA token that works under Google authenticator I first had to DELETE the token in Authenticator, rather than just scan and REPLACE.

So the fault lies with Google authenticator when generating and replacing the token but does not occur when deleting the token and generating a new token.

The fault could also lie with my phone by not saving the new code correctly when using scan and REPLACE.

Lastly I still have no idea why the initial 2FA token I was using failed after using it successfully for a number of weeks.

Small is beautiful

Carrying on from ‘Does size matter’ I have decided to test my Raspberry Pi 3 model B as a replacement for a desktop machine.

The black box (2×3 inches) is the Pi

The last time I used the Pi was about 6mths ago for a Python project for use in schools (a part of my former life) and the original SD card had Raspbian wheezy installed. On boot up the OS gui failed to load and eventually loaded a command line with errors.

Using another computer I downloaded the latest version of Raspbian….Buster and tried to reformat the SD card using SD formatter

Quick format didn’t work and I had to resort to full format. I then used Etcher to flash to image file to the SD card

Buster comes with basic desktop software installed and includes Libre office, Chromium browser, Claws mail and VNC viewer plus a host of other software and programming utilities

As mentioned in a previous post (Does size matter?) essential desktop software includes Veracrypt and KeePass, an encryption app and a password safe app.

The following website provides excellent and concise instructions to install Veracrypt version 1.2 on a Raspberry Pi

sudo apt install libfuse-dev libwxbase3.0-dev

wget -L -O veracrypt-1.21-raspbian-setup.tar.bz2 https://sourceforge.net/projects/veracrypt/files/VeraCrypt%201.21/veracrypt-1.21-raspbian-setup.tar.bz2/download

tar xvf veracrypt-1.21-raspbian-setup.tar.bz2

chmod +x veracrypt-1.21-setup-console-armv7

sudo ./veracrypt-1.21-setup-console-armv7

Installation takes a few minutes and is not quick.

Running setup at this point there is a long long process to spacebar through numerous license agreements…..and don’t forget to agree ‘y’ for yes at the end. Do not abort this process by pressing Ctl Z or Ctl X otherwise you will have to re-install from the beginning.

Before installing KeePass I thought it wise to update the OS using the following commands

sudo apt update

Followed by

sudo apt full-upgrade

Unfortunately this crashed the Pi ! although it was fine on re-boot and progressing the full update again.

Rather than installing KeePass I use a portable version of KeePass stored on a USB stick which can be used on a Pi by installing ‘Mono’

sudoapt-get install mono-complete

access your USB stick as follows

cd media/pi/yourUSB/KeePass

mono keepass.exe

It takes a few seconds to load but it is perfectly useable and has the added advantage that it can be used with Windows and other Linux operating systems.

In conclusion this version of the Raspberry Pi makes a passable desktop computer albiet a little slow, but it performs all the necssary desktop functions. e.g. Wordprocessing, Spreadsheets, Browsing the internet and using email. A Raspberry Pi 4 is probably a better option with as much memory as possible……4Gb

Failure to launch….and screen issues

Last week my bargain basement desktop PC died…….it refused to boot except for 3 short beeps and one long. POST (power on self test ) beep code for a memory problem I believe…….after opening up and re-seating the RAM memory modules nothing changed the outcome.

Still beep beep beep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Luckily the 90 day warranty was still active. I rang the help desk at Encore and got an immediate response. Next day the desktop was picked up by courier. 3 days later I got my Thinkcentre back with a new motherboard and 8mg of RAM instead of 4mg…….a great result. Impressed with Encore-PC ………as long as this desktop build lasts longer than 3 months 🙂

Next I recieved an unwanted tv from a family member which could also be used a new monitor for my desktop. Unfortunately the initial result was as follows

And what I really wanted was

After much searching on the internet I have concocted the following script file which gets the screen I want

#!/bin/bash
#
# set screen display
#
xrandr
xrandr --newmode "1920x1080" 173.00  1920 2048 2248 2576  1080 1083 1088 1120 -hsync +vsync
xrandr --addmode VGA-1 1920x1080
xrandr 
echo "note the list starts at zero"
xrandr -s 4

Does size matter?

After long service I decided a couple of months ago to upgrade from my 2009 HP desktop (originally running Windows 7) to something more up to date. Namely something that can run Windows 10. Although an avid Linux fan occasionally there is no other option but to use Windows.

Due to a limited budget I decided to scour the internet for refurbished desktops. The only criteria being the ability to run Windows 10.

For 55 quid I got the following

LENOVO THINKCENTRE M92P – PENTIUM G645T 2.50GHZ – 4GB RAM – 250GB HDD

Hard Drive 250GB HDD

Memory 4GB

Operating System Windows 10 Home

Warranty 90 Day RTB Warranty

The biggest surprise on delivery was its size…….I knew it would be smaller but

Its hard to make out in this picture but its about half the size of an A4 magazine. The company supplying the desktop (Encore PC) was slightly disingenuous in that the Thinkcentre boots up into Windows 7 with the option to upgrade (for free) to Windows 10…….. which for non-technical customer could prove to be a little tricky as the package did not include any instructions.

As a desktop PC for standard use it has proved to be more than adequate. After road testing windows for a day or so I installed my current favourite Linux distro which is Ubuntu Studio 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) . This presented no problems although I have yet to try the more resource intense applications available with this distro.

To any standard desktop configuration I use the following software packages can be added

Veracrypt a free open source disk encryption software for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux

Keepass a free open source light-weight and easy-to-use password manager which includes a portable edition that can be used in both a Windows and Linux environment when installed on a USB stick

Due to painful experience I no longer store any information on internal harddrives, all my data is always stored on separate external disks or USB sticks…….in this way my data is always portable and backed up in various locations……sometimes even in the cloud.

For 55 quid I have a great dual boot desktop system.

Tweakin the Pi…OKCash

It’s strange how a minor irritation can transform into a major bugbear – and so it goes.
Rokos version 8 on my raspberry pi(2 model B 1Gb) does not keep time and I find myself manually adjusting the settings…irritating…..sometimes I wonder if I am ever so slightly autistic.

From settings select Time and Date

Unlock and select Keep synchronized with Internet servers which will result in a request to install NTP

Unlock

and then select the time zone

and lock

on reboot the Pi will magically reproduce the correct time.

OKcash

select Settings and go to Options, tick ‘detach databases at shutdown’ and Apply

select Settings and go to change passphrase

Unless you have an exceptional memory that can remember a random 10 character password or a random selection of seed words then a good option in which to store your passphrase and other passwords is Keepass. I know it doesn’t get crazier than this…..a master password to unlock all your other passwords!

(It works for me 🙂

In order to install KeePassX first of all update the Pi

Type sudo apt-get update in Terminal and press Enter

and install keepassx

Type sudo apt-get install keepassx in Terminal and press Enter.

From the main menu Keepass will be installed under accessories